Boston convenience store owners are calling on state lawmakers to repeal the menthol cigarette ban and will release an undercover video on Thursday that they say shows widespread illicit sales of the cigarettes.
Store owners will release the video on the State House steps, showing what they call illicit street sales of menthol cigarettes, as lawmakers hold an email-only hearing on a bill to temporarily repeal the state’s first-in-the-nation menthol ban.
The ban on menthol cigarettes and mint and wintergreen tobacco went into effect on June 30, despite staunch opposition from the association and others in communities of color, who warned lawmakers that it was racially biased and would create a new illicit market that would increase crime and police harassment.
The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health is conducting an email-only hearing tomorrow on Senate Bill 2911, “an Act to Protect Communities of Color,” which would suspend the menthol ban for 12 months from the date of the bill’s passage.
The bill would provide the state with sufficient time to address the disproportionate economic, social, public health, and community safety impacts the ban on the sale of menthol tobacco products is having on communities of color, store owners say.